Subchassis: 440 x 350mm
Subchassis Weight: 11Kg (24lb)
Subchassis Thickness: 16mm
Speed ranges: 33.3, 45 & 78 rpm
Fully shielded in-line control unit.
LEDs indicate the main functions
Dimensions: 440 x 350 x 172mm
Net weight/power supply: 31Kg
The SME Model 20/3 turntable (available on 0% finance) replaces the Model 20/2, and has been subject to an extensive revamp that sees trickle down refinements from the flagship SME Model 30/3, a new achievement in vinyl replay and winner of Hi-Fi Choice's "Outstanding Product" Award.
The 20/2 was SME's best seller and the Model 20/3 looks set to continue this tradition by being one of the finest turntables money can buy, offering almost the same performance as the Model 30/3 at a more affordable level.
Available as turntable only (referred to as "Model 20/3") or as turntable with SME V-GPD tonearm (which is the Series V with gold detailing and as a package is referred to as Model 20/3a).
In an electro-mechanical record replay system ("turntable" to you and us), a major problem is vibration. This will come from numerous sources including air and structure borne vibrations from loudspeakers, vibrations caused by groove modulation and those set up by stray electrical fields and mechanical imperfections in the turntable's moving parts. The higher the mass and stiffness of a body the less it will flex and vibrate; the duration of a vibration can be shortened by suitable damping.
The Model 20/3 weighs an impressive 28.6kg, a 10.4kg increase on the 18,2kg weight of the original Model 20/2. The added weight comes from an increase in the thickness of the chassis plates from 9.5mm to 16mm, increase in platter weight from 4.6kg to 6.5kg and increase in size overall, measuring 20mm wider at 440mm and 30mm deeper at 350mm. In addition, the 20/3 features an all black platter.
More Weight, Less Flex
The increase in size and weight means the 20/3 has a better ability to resist flexing at low frequencies and high-frequency resonance is attenuated by efficient extensional damping. The same method of suspending and decoupling the sub-chassis via 40 purpose moulded 'O'-rings is still an essential part of the design and is sufficient to prevent acoustic feedback.
The 20/3 also features an improved central damper (closer to that featured on the 30/3), an improved oil bath and the latest SME external power supply. Everything about the SME 20/3 is about damping and gaining the absolute maximum acoustic clarity through finely engineered components.
Series V-GPD Tonearm
SME engineers worked for almost four years to design and build a tonearm that would make no detectable sound contribution of it's own, and came up with a product that has become widely accepted by technical experts and users as one of the world's truly great audio products.
The details of how the engineers achieved such finesse can be widely read elsewhere around the web, however we simply couldn't mention the Series V without touching on it's performance capabilities.
To achieve the optimum transfer from vinyl to your ears, the tonearm needs to be as stiff as the laws of physics will allow; and SME realised that satisfactory results could not be achieved with conventional fabricated constriction.
Instead of being made from multiple parts, the Series-V Tonearm is a one-piece die-casting in magnesium alloy comprising the shell, tube and balance weight cantilever. This construction is 36% lighter and only 25% less stiff than commonly used aluminium, yet a magnesium arm of the same mass could be as much as 25% stiffer. Magnesium also has a high self-damping factor to damp the tube's high-frequency resonance.
Build and Design
The internals were subject to the same level of scrutiny, resulting in internal wiring of specially developed silver litz, with each conductor having five insulated strands; whilst termination is done through high quality linear crystal oxygen-free copper audio lead selected for it's electrical and mechanical characteristics.
Finished in satin black enamel, with accents of black chrome and details in bright chrome and polished stainless steel. Structurally, aesthetically and materially speaking, tonearms don't come much more advanced than the Series V-GPD
'...the Model 20/3 is the best-value deck in the range. Indeed, a masterpiece' (Hi Fi News)
13 May 2015A settling in period of about 12 months since we pushed our 20/3 into the back of an Audi TT (less the big cardboard box of course) and drove delicately up to Yorkshire. The VDH Colibri took some time to get right on the V (just lighten the downforce to near zero and you'll be dandy!) and the records started arriving to replenish old stock. Our old postman must have been reminded of the 70s. Enough of this preamble. It is absolutely sense-sation-ionally stimulating the (listening) senses.